Lose the Customer’s Confidence and You Lose the Customer
My wife and I were on the phone with our bank. They take care of our checking accounts and credit cards for our entire family, and we were having a problem transferring money from one account to another.
The frustration began with fifteen minutes of hold time. Once the customer service representative came on the call, Cindy briefly described the problem. The rep asked a number of security questions, which included her full name, address, where she was born, mother’s maiden name, social security number and driver’s license number. While more than the usual questions, I understand they are for our protection. That said, the entire interaction, including fifteen minutes spent on hold waiting for the rep, was now approaching twenty minutes and thus far nothing had been resolved.
At the end of the “interrogation,” the bank’s rep said he didn’t have what he needed to verify Cindy’s identity, and he was transferring her to another rep. What do you think happened when the new customer service rep came on? She asked the same questions.
It’s now been almost 30 minutes and the reason for the call has not yet been addressed. We asked to speak to a supervisor. After a few more minutes on hold another agent picked up. Calm, cool and definitely more knowledgeable than the last two support reps, he resolved the problem … in under six minutes. He was able to take a look at several of our accounts and discovered why we were having our problem, and he fixed it.
So, let’s look at the numbers. Total time on the phone was 47 minutes. Total time to get to a person that was capable of resolving the problem was 41 minutes. And, I’ll categorize that 41 minutes as a waste of time, never to be recaptured. 41 minutes of our life gone due to long hold times and two customer service reps who were not properly trained or had not been empowered with the authority to get the job done.
So, what was the cost to the bank? I’m not sure what they pay their people, but there was wasted payroll when the first two support reps couldn’t answer my question. But what is the big cost? Shattered customer confidence.
Even though our last customer service rep got the job done, the other two couldn’t. 87% of the interaction was on hold or talking to people who couldn’t help us, which made us frustrated, if not downright angry at the bank. After the call, we had a short conversation about switching banks. We chose to give them one more chance, but will a similar experience in the future push us to find a new bank? How many positive interactions will we need to have to forget this debacle and have our confidence in the bank’s customer service restored to normal?
In today’s competitive business environment, a company can’t afford to lose a customer’s confidence. Maybe the customer will give the company a second, or even a third chance. A bank is “sticky,” meaning it’s not easy to close an account at one bank and open a new one at another. It takes time and effort. It’s not like deciding to buy shoes at a different department store. Every employee who comes into contact with a customer must recognize that in addition to the job they were hired to do, they are also there to create confidence. Here’s the bottom line: Lose the customer’s confidence, and you will lose the customer.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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